Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent male health problem, especially for men in middle age or beyond. In the UK, it is estimated that it affects about half of all men over the age of 40, and at least a quarter of men under this age. However, because it is an issue that is not always easy to discuss, the true numbers may be higher than this.

Yahoo News reports on a new survey of 1,000 men carried out on behalf of the makers of a new topical gel treatment for ED called Eroxon. The results have been released to coincide with Men’s Health Awareness Month that takes place during November, AKA Movember. 

The survey found that 41% of ED patients described themselves as feeling like a ‘failure’ for having the condition. 40% said that it made them feel awkward and embarrassed, while 30% said that it made them feel guilty. Furthermore, some 63% of single men with ED reported feeling anxious about starting a new sexual relationship.

Dr Hilary Jones, a medical doctor who also works in the media, commented: “When ED sufferers and their partners were asked to describe their sex life, despite 52% being happy with their sex life, a staggering 48% said they were unhappy or simply didn’t have a sex life.” 

He added: “The state of a couple’s antics between the sheets can have a big impact on overall wellbeing so it’s important to deal with problems as soon as possible. Getting to the root cause of ED can really help.”

Almost all of the men in the survey had at least one other health issue besides ED. This is unsurprising, because ED is most often caused by another health problem such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or high cholesterol. It can also be caused by stress, tiredness, and depression, or by drinking too much alcohol. 

In rare cases, ED can also be caused by low testosterone levels. However, it’s important to have this condition diagnosed by a medical professional rather than attempt to treat it by taking testosterone supplements. These boosters can be beneficial for some men, but when taken incorrectly they can increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and prostate cancer.

Some research suggests that overuse of porn can cause ED in some men, particularly amongst the younger generation who have grown up with easy internet access to X-rated material from their early teenage years. This is because over-consumption of porn can make it more difficult to react to real-life sexual stimuli, meaning they are less easily aroused. 

However, there is as yet no conclusive evidence to draw a definitive link between porn use and ED, and it may even be beneficial in some cases, especially when viewed as part of a couple. 

Making some simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight, drinking less, and taking more exercise can sometimes help men to improve their sexual function.